Manhattan College Holocaust, Genocide & Interfaith Education Center

Mission

The Center's mission is to promote Jewish-Catholic-Muslim "discussion and collaboration" as urged in 1965 by the Vatican's Nostra Aetate (In Our Time) and seconded in subsequent Papal actions and declarations. "Since Christians and Jews have such a common spiritual heritage, this sacred Council wishes to encourage and further mutual understanding and appreciation." Nostra Aetate also states that the Church "regards with esteem also the Muslim," and it urges all "to work sincerely for mutual understanding."

As befits Manhattan College, an institution of higher education, the Center's principal sphere is education. Founded in 1996 as the Holocaust Resource Center, the Center expanded its Mission in 2011 and was renamed the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center. This reflects the spirit of the Center's Mission and the vision that all the foci are interconnected and are part of the educational outreach of the Center. The Center is committed to understanding and respecting differences and similarities between people of all religions, races, ethnicities and nationalities.

The Center's focus remains the lessons of the Holocaust, which are essential to educating future generations in order to combat prejudice, genocidal ideologies, apathy and Holocaust denial. To this end, the Center is committed to educating people about the Holocaust and genocide while emphasizing the contemporary significance of these events. Although the primary audiences are the College community, the neighborhood and area teachers, the Center also seeks to impact a broader arena through interfaith initiatives and activities. Through education about human suffering in the absence of tolerance, the Center seeks to foster acceptance and understanding among religions, cultures, and communities.

History of the Center

The Manhattan College Holocaust Resource Center grew out of discussions between concerned faculty and administrators at the College led by Rose Santos-Cunningham, Brother Peter Drake, F. S. C., and Frederick Schweitzer and members of the Riverdale community, most notably Martin Spett, Lou Falkenstein, and the late Martin Richman during the 1995-1996 academic year. The Center's Charter was approved by the President of the College, Brother Thomas Scanlan, F. S. C. in 1996.